'A classroom is the soul of a school's culture' - Doug Lemov
Classes are organised into four phases
With forty five children in each year group some mixed year group teaching is essential, as well as desirable. Teaching Assistants support learning and teaching throughout the school. From year 2 their role is specifically to support the learning and achievement of those pupils with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities.
Led by Mrs Karen Cotton, EYFS children learn in one large classroom with two teachers and a teaching assistant. This provides a ratio of 1:15.
Led by Mrs Emma Miller, KS1 children are grouped by age: 30 younger year 1 children in Butterflies, 15 older year 1 and younger year 2 in Bees and 30 older year 2 in Dragonflies.
Led by Mrs Paula Hammond, the LKS2 children are also grouped by age: 30 younger year 1 children in Cuckoos, 15 older year 1 and younger year 2 in Hen Harriers and 30 older year 2 in Sparrows.
At the end of LKS2, children are organised into three groups of 15 for Year 5 where we consider the following:
An even mix of boys, girls, year 5 and 6 children
A fair split of low, middle and high achieving children and those with additional needs
Children who can work well together
The nature of the older children in the class and who will be a good/less good mix
We do not consider particular friendships unless there is an exceptional reason to do so. In lessons children are expected to be useful and kind unlimited and work well with all their classmates.
Led by Mrs Debbie McHugh, our UKS2 children are split into three parallel classes, Hedgehogs, Pine Martens and Red Squirrels. There are 15 year 5 and 15 year 6 children in each class. For Mathematics children are taught either by year group or in one mixed class. Children eat and play as one cohort and meet up with friends from other classes at break times.
keeping in touch
Class teachers will communicate with children and families via the school's Google Classroom. This is a safe and secure area of our virtual school where messages are private. Access is via the child's email address [email@example.com] and unique password. Staff can select to message an individual, group or the whole class.
Class organisation - FAQs
We hope the following frequently asked questions is helpful to families in understanding and supporting why we organise the school as we do.
Key Stage 1 and Lower Key Stage 2 - Years 1-4
Why are Year 1-4 organised by age?
There is a much larger social difference between children turning 5 in August and children turning 7 in September. By organising classes by age we can better meet all children’s age and stage of development.
My child is moving into Year 1, how will I know who they’ll be with?
Children in Year 1 are grouped by age: 30 younger year 1 children in Butterflies, 15 older year 1 in Bees with the 15 younger children of Year 2. The birthdates of the split between Butterflies and Bees changes each year, with some years it being as early as November, and in other years it being February or even March. Whenever that date is, it is possible that two children with birthdays very close to each other might end up in different classes. We appreciate that it can feel confusing for parents, it can help to think of the class in 3 groups of 15: the younger 15, older 15 and the middle 15. Between years 1 and 4, in alternate years the groupings alternate first younger with middle, then in the following year the middle with the older and so on. Their friends in the grouping of 15 will likely stay with them through years 1 to 4.
When are children informed about their new class?
Our experience tells us that too much notice can lead to anxiety (at home as well as in school). Young children live in the present so they are told the morning of the first transition day. This means from being told they go straight to a class with their new teacher keen to meet them and as eager to make a good impression as the children are. Children will then be able to come home and tell their parents the news about their new class. Building on our trauma informed practice, for children with specific difficulties, some preparation is beneficial and reasonable adjustments are made.
How can I help my child(ren) with this transition?
Children often pick up on parents’ and caregivers’ attitudes and feelings toward change and we would ask that you approach this class transition with a spirit of openness and curiosity. It can be helpful for you to be excited to find out about their new class and to talk to your child about the opportunities this move brings: to meet new teachers, build new friendships and for those moving to Year 5, be with friends they may not have been with since reception, them make new friends in Year 6 and prepare for class mixing at High School. If you or your child has specific concerns, please do raise them with your child’s teacher.
What if my child might be better suited to a class of older or younger children?
Every class teacher is a teacher for every child. This means that we don’t move children with a greater aptitude (who happen to be younger) into an older class or children who have barriers to learning (and happen to be older) into a younger class. The only exceptions we consider is where the barrier is social and emotional AND there are no additional learning needs. Any exceptions would be discussed with parents and carers before any decision is made and the final decision must rest with the school. This is because the school best understands the needs and aptitudes of cohorts as a whole.
Years 5 and 6
Why are year 5 and 6 organised into three parallel classes?
As children mature, the social difference with age and stage is reduced. Children in Year 6 are preparing for HIgh School and we don’t want to disadvantage the youngest by transferring with fifteen classmates while their older classmates transfer with thirty. We also know that a concern for many children moving up to secondary education is the peers they will find there. All children transferring to Leftwich High (as the overwhelming majority do) meet up again with friends from when they were in year 5 and have friends in Year 8 looking forward to greeting them. There is also the vexed question of SATS. We would no more want a sole year 6 class experience impacted by too much focus on external tests than we’d want the younger children to have less opportunity to revise and prepare. Three mixed age classes means we have to have a proportionate plan for the end of Year 6 assessment within a framework of a full and rich curriculum.
Why doesn’t the school prioritise friendships or ask children to choose friends for their new class?
Every playtime and almost every lunchtime, children go into lunch by year groups, giving friendship groups the opportunities to catch up at informal times of the day.
In our experience, the choosing of friendship partners or groups causes unnecessary anxiety and upset. Some children have many friends and choosing one or two encourages ranking of friends which is not congruent with our ethos or values. Other children might be chosen by no one. We have just one school rule: we are useful and kind - unlimited - and ready to learn. We expect children to learn alongside and be friendly to all their classmates and particular friendship groups are for times like playtimes and outside of school.